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Joan Black took a serious tumble two years ago, climbing up on a stepladder to reach for a punchbowl. She was about to host one of her frequent patio parties for a regional theater company in Montpelier, Vermont. Ms. Black had been doing quite well in her ground-floor apartment downtown. But the fall broke a vertebra, and since then she’s had trouble walking and standing for any extended period. Living on Social Security payments since the recession plundered her savings, she couldn’t afford to hire helpers. “Seeing things in my life go downhill became very depressing,” said Ms. Black, now 80. Through the local timebank, Cara Barbero, who lives a block or so away, began showing up to shovel snow for Ms. Black, often before dawn. “I get up in the morning, and the path is already cleared and salted and the car is cleaned off, and I can get out and go,” Ms. Black said. - Onion River Exchange, Vermont https://orexchange.timebanks.org/ . #timebankingis #community #50storiesin50days #timebanks #story #timeasmoney #receivinghelp
Reflection by Edgar Cahn
This story has two parts: what caused the accident and what emerged from the personal disaster that the accident created. There is something symbolic about each.
First comes the fall. Why did it happen? Reaching for a punch bowl had its own higher purpose: hosting a party to support living theatre – local art, living art. Life takes on purpose when it celebrates the creative impulse in ourselves and others. There is a need to nurture artistry – and sometimes, perhaps all too often, that entails unexpected consequences.
That brings us to part two: finding a pathway back. We are told that every morning, Cara Barbero showed up to shovel a path for Joan because with a broken vertebrae, Joan couldn’t get out to the sidewalk when it snowed. We can reframe that path through the snow as a path through life’s winter. One individual, Cara Barbero, shoveled the path – but she came because there was a network of strangers, who had used TimeBanking to create a living ecosystem that could respond. An invisible system of caring cleared the path without being asked – often before dawn.
Fall and recovery is a recurring storyline, beginning with Adam and Eve. Here we have a contemporary Genesis story. TimeBanking is where such new beginnings become possible.